Children can move through many stages of exhibiting bad habits. Many of these bad habits can be concerning while others are simply very annoying. Parents or guardians often excessively worry about what they can do about the unacceptable behavior of their children. There are certain considerations that can be made when changing bad habits in children, which can make the process more successful and less stressful.
Things to consider when changing bad habits in children
1. Whatever you notice as bad habits in children, might actually be normal stages of a child’s development and might also be typically age appropriate. For example, your little one is fascinated with the lint in their belly-button, and examine it quite regularly, you may think this is an inappropriate behavior. However it may very well be, that your child simply sees belly-button fluff as interesting. Your child is going to grow-out-of this fascinating discovery and this bad habit is going to fade away.
2. Sometimes these so-called “bad habits” in children, might be ways for your child to calm them-selves. When they might normally want to scream, shout, or cry, they might suck on their sleeve, or tug on their hair tie instead. This may make him or her feel a sense of calmness and security.
3. Kids may also use poor habits in order to feel some sense of control over the environment they find themselves in. For instance when they’ve been dropped off at the childcare center for that very first time, they might start behaving oddly, such as tugging at their pants pockets, or rubbing their clothes. As time passes, if they continue to feel threatened by the daycare center, then rubbing their clothes or tugging at their pockets could become an entrenched behavior.
4. Children often behave in a certain way or do things that adults might perceive as “bad”, but in reality the parent might just misunderstand the situation or behavior. Consider that sometimes, your children are simply just problem solving. If they have cold hands, they might place their hands in-between their own thighs in order to warm them. Grown-ups quite often misread this action and over-react. Should they understand that the problem was the child having cold hands, maybe they would offer a different solution.
5. Punishing and shaming your children will be the worst action you could take. If your child performs the bad habit in order to soothe and calm themselves, then it will be counter-productive to make them feel bad. It might just exacerbate the situation and just fuel the behavior further. It is for these reasons that parents can often become upset and frustrated when making their attempts in changing bad habits in children.
6. Encouraging behaviors that are more pleasant in place of the annoying, troublesome, or destructive habits will invariably work far better. You are able to educate your son or daughter to be aware and understand when they are in the midst of a bad habit. And then, you’ll be able to teach them a replacement behavior to try and do as an alternative. Every time they do, then positively praise and reward them.
7. Rewards and incentives can often work when changing bad habits in children. This is particularly true when they are of an old enough age to think beyond the “now” and can think of the longer-tern of at the least a couple weeks. You can offer him or her a reward for every-day in which they don’t perform their undesirable habits. When eventually they’ve stopped the behavior, they are going to have a considerable reward in waiting. More about what rewards you can offer can be found here.
8. Generally, the most effective reaction you can have is to wait for any bad habits to disappear all by themselves. Make sure that you don’t reinforce the bad habits by performing them your self, the children ought to grow out of the worrying/bad/inappropriate behaviors. When they grow older, their peers can make it more appealing for them to quit their bad habits. It’s true that children prefer to fit in and integrate with their social groups.
A very important factor to consider regarding changing bad habits in children is that you ought not end up being too concerned or alarmed. Only when these habits and behaviors are damaging or dangerous will it be crucial that you should prevent them straight away. In any other case, always be understanding as well as calm when dealing with your children’s bad habits.